Child Safety – They Call Me Baby Speed Bump

The government can’t solve all of our problems. If it could, the guy who served me a cold hamburger for lunch would be facing hard time. I mean, after all, it’s not like his oversight is a first offense. He’s served other unsuspecting patrons the same greasy, undercooked lump of cow, and should have to pay with his spatula.

There are some things our state governments should tackle, and one of those is the protection of our children. Hey, I don’t like kids either, but they do grow up eventually, and they make lousy speed bumps, so I think our legislators ought to address this problem. Little kids, I mean the ones under say twelve, shouldn’t be allowed to ride motorcycles.

Yes, I can just hear it. Its like the jokes circulating the Internet where manufacturers advise us we should keep their knives out of children or that using their electric hair dryers in the shower is not a good idea. To most of us, these words of wisdom seem so obvious that we are amazed that anyone would feel it necessary to tell us. But, while there is a limit to human intelligence, human stupidity is boundless. Here is a case in point.

I have a client who hired me to file an emergency petition to keep her former husband from transporting their 3-year-old, 32 pound kid on the back of his Harley. Fortunately, the judge made the right decision, and for the time being, Daddy has to pick the kid up in his truck. But the Welfare department and the police felt helpless to intervene against this behavior because it is not illegal. It’s not???? you might be saying. That’s what I said, and I’m a lawyer. It is true. You can’t drive your kids around in a car, van, or truck without appropriate safety restraints unless you want a ticket. It is, however, perfectly legal in all states for a little kid to be placed on the back of a motorcycle and only be protected by Daddy’s driving ability and the strength of his grip on Daddy’s shirt.

The fact that Junior could fly off the bike if Daddy were to hit one of our many potholes or suddenly have to brake because of traffic conditions has no bearing on whether Daddy is guilty of neglecting his duty. I guess if the kid lets go or loses his grip, its his tough break. After all, it was on his watch, and he sure as heck will know better next time, if there is a next time.

The paramedics who scrape his little body off the road, and the coroner who has to verify the cause of death have no gripe. If the little idiot had just held on like Daddy told him to, he’d possibly still be with us. But, who cares? Dead kids make great news copy.

Maybe I’m being old fashioned. After all, I am a lady of a certain age, and while that age isn’t anything I care to advertise, when I was growing up, my parents had the strange notion that they were supposed to protect me. They didn’t let me do harmless things like roller skate on Highway 52 or take rides home from school with strangers. Neither of them drove a motorcycle, so maybe I’m missing the point.

I ask you, parents of the world, am I wrong? Is there an excellent reason for a little kid to ride on the back of a “hog” that I don’t understand? Would we be denying our youth a right as important as, say, their education if we outlawed this behavior? Would our nursery school students stage a protest in Washington if this exciting and fun form of transportation was universally outlawed for them? What do you think? Tell me. Better yet, check your state laws and tell your legislature if your kids aren’t protected from such stupidity before some unsuspecting toddler is killed or permanently injured.

Copyright (c) 2010 Lucille Uttermohlen